N. Korea Producing Counterfeit U.S. 'Supernotes' North Korea is allegedly producing counterfeit U.S. currency of such high quality that the bank notes are nearly indistinguishable from the real thing. New York Times Magazine reporter Stephen Mihm talks with Alex Chadwick about what officials are calling "supernotes."
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N. Korea Producing Counterfeit U.S. 'Supernotes'

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N. Korea Producing Counterfeit U.S. 'Supernotes'

N. Korea Producing Counterfeit U.S. 'Supernotes'

N. Korea Producing Counterfeit U.S. 'Supernotes'

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North Korea is allegedly producing counterfeit U.S. currency of such high quality that the bank notes are nearly indistinguishable from the real thing. New York Times Magazine reporter Stephen Mihm talks with Alex Chadwick about what officials are calling "supernotes."

NOAH ADAMS, Host:

Stephen Mihm writes about the counterfeiting in this coming Sunday's New York Times magazine. He spoke earlier with Alex Chadwick, from the studios of Georgia Public Radio in Atlanta.

ALEX CHADWICK, Host:

Stephen Mihm, you write that some of these bills are actually better than what we get out of the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing, how could that be?

STEPHEN MIHM: So, for example, on the back of the $100.00 counterfeit note, the clock tower of Independence Hall is rendered more finely on the counterfeit than it is on the genuine note.

CHADWICK: Your story says that these have been in circulation for about 15 years and they are only detectable with very fine equipment, and it took quite a long time to figure out that they indeed come from North Korea. How did they manage to figure that out?

MIHM: The South Korean sources were able to piece that together in conjunction with their counterparts in this country as well.

CHADWICK: I mean this is - it sounds like a weird, kind of off the wall sort of enterprise, but this really matters, this counterfeiting.

MIHM: It's an odd strategy perhaps, but one that they've honed and perfected over the years.

CHADWICK: Can you see any effect of this counterfeit money on our economy, on the U.S. economy?

MIHM: So it's played a much more important role on a diplomatic level than on an economic level.

CHADWICK: Stephen Mihm's story on North Korea and the counterfeiting of American currency is in the Sunday New York Times magazine. Stephen Mihm, thank you.

MIHM: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

ADAMS: More coming up on DAY TO DAY from NPR News.

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